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Zelenskiy Denies Reports Of Deal To Investigate Trump's Political Rival

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (file photo)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (file photo)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has denied in an interview with several magazines that there had been a quid-pro-quo deal with U.S. President Donald Trump to investigate the latter's political rival, ex-vice president Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter.

"I definitely did not speak with President Trump in such a way, like, 'you give me this, I give you that,'" Zelenskiy said in an interview with Time magazine, Germany's Der Spiegel, France's Le Monde, and Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza on December 2.

Trump is accused of pressuring Zelenskiy during a July 25 call to investigate the Bidens for corruption.

The allegation against Trump is central to an impeachment probe against the U.S. president, who is seeking reelection next year.

During the call, Trump, a Republican, asked his Ukrainian counterpart to look into 2020 Democratic front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, who had been a hired board member of a controversial Ukrainian energy company.

While asking for the "favor," according to a rough transcript of the call made public, Trump was withholding some $400 million in military aid to Kyiv.

Trump has accused Biden -- who oversaw Ukraine policy during the administration of former President Barack Obama -- of pressuring Kyiv to fire its prosecutor-general in order to halt an investigation into the Burisma gas company, on whose board Hunter Biden used to serve.

The U.S. officials who have testified so far in the impeachment probe have rejected that theory.

Trump tweeted his reaction to Zelenskiy's interview with the magazine.

"Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls," Trump tweeted. "If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!"

"I do not want Ukraine to be a piece on the chessboard of the great powers," Zelenskiy said in the interview.

With reporting by dpa
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